We resumed our Mage: The Awakening game this past Saturday, which was fun. Two of my players are now the parents of newborn twins, so the cabal has temporarily lost its Life mage and one of its Fate mages (who also makes for great plot fodder because her position within the Guardians of the Veil is essentially “mage witness protection program agent”).
I’m still under NDA, so I can’t talk mechanics. We modified them heavily in any case, so it would probably be more confusing than enlightening anyway. That said, I’m pretty pleased with the story so far, and I feel like talking about it a bit because all but one of my players had to bow out of tomorrow’s session at the last minute:
The stakes are getting to a pretty critical point, with every problem compounding every other problem. It started with a mummy breaking into their Sanctum to recover its stolen relic (which they later learned is a potentially world-shattering artifact – but not before it was stolen by time-traveling doomsday cultists).
The cabal managed to “kill” the mummy, but it got better a few days later (like Arisen do) and is now bent on recovering its relic and destroying Minneapolis-St. Paul in retribution for keeping its prize away from it. The cabal has learned that to do this the mummy will need some additional mummies to help it enact whatever ritual of reprisal it has in mind. Figuring that if they can prevent the mummy from gathering enough of its peers to perform this catastrophic utterance it will prevent disaster, they figured out where its intended allies are sleeping and set out to destroy (or at least greatly inconvenience) it. Along the way, they made an alliance with an Arisen-like creature that claimed it could permanently kill a mummy by “devouring” it. In what was easily the most difficult fight of the chronicle, the cabal managed to give this devourer its chance, which it seized. It was at this point that they discovered that it gained the power of the mummy (or Arisen relic) it consumed. This busted their original plan to let it eat the world-destroying artifact, but they still didn’t hesitate to use Fate to ensure that the devourer meet the rest of the mummies before they can destroy the Twin Cities. That’s where they left that plot thread back in late November, but it clearly won’t be the last we hear of it.
Meanwhile, someone has been possessing Sleepers seemingly at random and having them attack Consilium mages – including killing the entire editorial staff of a periodical circulated among Diamond Order mages. Being that this is the kind of thing the cabal is supposed to investigate (two Sentinels, a Guardian, and the Consilium diplomat to the neighboring Assembly of St. Paul), they do that and quickly conclude that the Seers of the Throne are behind the attacks. What is gradually becoming clear is that the Sleepers being used by the Seers are not random victims of circumstances. At least some of them are the friends and family members of Consilium mages who still have connections to their Sleeper lives – connections they simultaneously want to keep hidden but also protect from exactly this sort of thing. As far as the cabal can tell, some mages who are very close friends of the Hierarch have suddenly exhibited Seer of the Throne connections – mages who were formerly believed above suspicion. It’s disconcerting.
Those local Sleepers who don’t have a connection to a friendly mage but have been affected by this puppetry are freaked out, so it’s not surprising that they’re calling on favors from monster hunters and from those supernatural creatures with which they are acquainted. A pack of werewolves kidnapped the cabal’s Life mage (a way to write out a player’s character for a few sessions), and the cabal has not even begun to investigate what’s up with that. They’re aware of the underlying issue, though, and it seems like it might be a good idea to quiet down the city as quickly as possible before the mages’ hunter problem gets even worse.
The final problem concerns the parents of one member of the cabal, both of whom were mages who turned Scelesti before being devoured by a manifestation of the Abyss. Now they’re back and haunting her dreams every night. It’s not clear what happened to Mom and Dad, but they seem intent upon returning to the material world, which they can only accomplish with some help. Whenever they visit their daughter’s dreams, they poison her with Abyssal taint. The cabal wanted to know what the Abyss’s game is, so they encouraged Antimony to play along for a little while. Their initial requests were innocuous – spray-painting Abyssal symbols in out-of-the-way places, so it seemed harmless enough. Then the Scelesti wanted a more visible act of graffiti in St. Paul, where the Free Council holds sway (the Consilium of Minneapolis and the Free Assembly of St. Paul are not enemies, but they are not on the best of terms, either). For her obedience, Antimony’s parents rewarded her with an even greater dose of Abyssal taint, which she can’t help but leak into other nearby mages (which is the way Paradox manifests in her).
The cabal thought nothing of it until they returned from their mummy-hunting expedition and discovered (through postcognition) that a member of the St. Paul Assembly had spray-painted Abyssal runes in several visible places in Minneapolis. A single turn of scrutiny with Mage Sight earned one member of the cabal her own dose of Abyssal taint. That night, Antimony’s parents visit her, too, and now the dream Scelesti are demanding that the cabal deliver a book cataloging Abyssal manifestations to a part of a library in St. Paul frequented by Free Council mages. The cabal’s Scelesti hunter examines this tome and promptly receives a large dose of Abyssal taint and some dreams of his own. It is now becoming pretty clear exactly what the Abyssal invaders’ game is in Minneapolis – if not their ultimate goal, then at least the means they are using to achieve it. This situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.
I’m looking forward to the next session.
I don’t have much more than that to report, this week. I’ve mostly entirely recovered from the first half of January, so hopefully I can get back my writing momentum this weekend. I’m in the process of reading Edge of Empire – the new Star Wars RPG put out by Fantasy Flight, but I’m not far enough in that I feel like I can comment on it, yet. I’m also reading Memories of Ice, the third book in Stephen Erickson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen, and while it’s excellent so far, again, I’m barely 25% of the way through it, so my review is still a long ways off. We’ve been watching some geeky movies with William, but so far he has insisted upon watching movies I’ve already seen (including two watches of A New Hope and three of Attack of the Clones *shudder*).
With that I’m going to wrap up for the week.